FORT EDWARD — A former used car dealer who ran a business on Broadway faces 25 felony charges after he was found to have falsified car sales paperwork, court records show.
Vito E. “Eddy” Caselnova Jr., 56, of Queensbury, was charged after an investigation by the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Washington County Sheriff’s Office that stemmed from an FBI inquiry in Delaware.
Caselnova faces charges that he illegally used a Delaware used car dealership’s license to sell cars in New York, because he was unable to get a New York state car dealer license.
In an affidavit filed in Fort Edward Town Court, Caselnova told a DMV investigator he paid the Delaware dealership, Ppg Motors in Wilmington, $300 a month and $10 per car sale to use its information when selling cars in New York. But Ppg Motors cannot legally sell cars in New York, according to court records.
Using the Ppg information allowed Caselnova to illegally bypass New York motor vehicle fees resulted in numerous car sales in which buyers wrongly believed they were buying cars from a licensed dealer, court records allege. He told police he had been using the Delaware dealer information in the Glens Falls area for about three years.
It was unclear what, if any, impact the falsified documents have had on the car sales. DMV did not respond to an inquiry about the case Wednesday afternoon.
Caselnova operated under the name EddyWheels Value Auto at 152 Broadway, selling cheaper, low-end used cars, but he no longer runs a business there. The car dealer that is there now is not affiliated with him, officials said.
Washington County sheriff’s Capt. Tony LeClaire said his agency was brought in by DMV investigators and filed charges based on information developed in an interstate investigation. The Washington County District Attorney’s Office assisted as well.
In a statement filed in court, Caselnova wrote he could not get a New York state car dealer license because he owed “a million dollars” in sales tax to the state from a boat dealership he previously operated on Long Island.
“Since then, I cannot get a license to collect sales tax,” he wrote.
He wrote that he applied under a relative’s name, but was denied then as well.
Caselnova faces 12 felony counts each of offering a false instrument for filing and criminal possession of a forged instrument and one count of scheme to defraud in connection with 12 car sales in Fort Edward in 2016 and 2017.
Fort Edward Police Chief Justin Derway said his agency dealt with a number of problems and complaints at the dealership while it was at 152 Broadway. Among them were that Caselnova had posted a state DMV sign on the business that created the false impression it was state-licensed.
It was determined the sign was not illegal if it did not have a DMV license number on it.
“We were called to mediate a number of disputes there,” Derway said.
A phone message left on a voicemail listed for Caselnova was not returned Wednesday.
Caselnova was arraigned Tuesday and sent to Washington County Jail for lack of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bail bond and was freed on bail later in the day.